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Bryce Harper did something pretty fantastic yesterday

Jul 6, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

And it had nothing to do with his play on the field.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper took an hour before last night’s game against the Padres to meet with 13-year-old Gavin Rupp, who was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer last month. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has the story.

The Rupps of Ashburn have had too many bad days. Friday was a good day. The Nationals invited Gavin to throw out the first pitch before the team played the San Diego Padres. Late in the afternoon, at around 5:15, they were hanging out together in the Nationals dugout, Gavin’s parents and his siblings, Abby and Ian. Gavin’s favorite player came walking out.

“You guys want to go out on the field?” Bryce Harper asked.

The group stood off to the side as the Padres started taking batting practice. An hour later, up until about 45 minutes to first pitch, Harper was still there talking to Gavin and his family. Kyle Mann, the Nationals coordinator of community relations, had never seen a player spend so much time with a kid before a game.

Harper spoke with Rupp about a variety of topics, ranging from his pregame routine to Ohio State football. The 20-year-old traded wristbands with Rupp and even asked him to sign a baseball. While it was just an hour of Harper’s time, it meant the world to Rupp’s family.

“I can’t say enough. A guy who is 20 years old, to take that much time,” Chris Rupp said. His voice quivered and his eyes watered. “When I was 20 years old, I didn’t have that maturity, to do what he just did.”

Harper wrote this message on his Twitter account after last night’s game.

Good on you, Bryce.

  1. danwilliamsmlb - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Awesome. It is very cool to see a player, especially a young one, recognize the importance of taking time out to make a difference in someone else’s life. I hope that young man beats his cancer and lives to a ripe old age, but no matter what, he has a very cool memory to carry with him through all his days, thanks to Bryce.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      He isn’t going to beat the cancer. It’s inoperable. That’s the point of the story.

      • larrymahnken - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Fortunately, you’re wrong. Inoperable just means that it’s not safe to perform surgery at this time, so they have to rely on other treatments (like chemotherapy), and hopefully the tumor will shrink enough to allow them to perform surgery.

        I mean, there’s still a large change that the kid doesn’t make it, but it’s not 100%.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:59 AM

        Alright well I hope I am wrong. I was just pointing out that the point of the story was that he was spending time with a dying kid. That’s how the story was written. It sure as hell didn’t sound optimistic.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        There’s always hope, Meech.

      • danwilliamsmlb - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        That isn’t necessarily true. There are still other treatments available and there are tons of stories about people recovering from these things.

        Also, and I assure you that I am not looking to pick a fight, but I think it is in poor taste to make a comment like that when there is a possibility the young man could come by here and read it.

  2. dobber707 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Zzz Not a Nats fan Bryce a good kid.

  3. thebadguyswon - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    He is an easy player to like for sure.

  4. oltanya - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Remember when this guy was the biggest, most immature ass to ever be promoted to the Majors, and everyone knew he deserved a beaning every at-bat?

  5. Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Remember just a couple of years ago when everyone had Harper pegged for an arrogant little loudmouth? Remember all the predictions of how many “in your ear” pitches he was in line to attract? Either he grew up really fast, or the spawrtriters were (gasp) probably just full of shit again.

    Heartening move, Bryce.

    • wfs266 - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      I really enjoy this site and although I rarely post anything I do keep up with the regulars. Old Gator gets a lot of abuse which sometimes seems well deserved but I’m pretty sure he enjoys it as much as the “thumbs up” he gets. Bryce is a good kid and did a good thing for a young man that most likely won’t be with us much longer. Although he may be arrogant at times, all of sports could use more of him. Good job Bryce and thumbs up from me Gator.

      • Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Arrogant? Moi?????

        Thanks. However, you’ve also probably noticed by now that, with a few exceptions, most of the thumbs down are coming from three or four recidivist obsessives, including large blocks of them from the same couple of fools. And you’re right – knowing that my very existence drives these cretins to apoplexy pleases me as much as breathing pleased Whitman.

  6. bigmeechy74 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Lol every comment has a ton of thumbs down. I guess there are a lot of people on this blog that hate Bryce Harper.

    • Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Yes, but the fact that they hate Bryce Harper is wholly secondary to what kinds of assholes they other in other respects.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        So far, you are ahead of me in thumbs down for the day, OG, but I feel confident I can surpass you in the late stretch. I’d just like to add that it’s an honor just to be nominated in this category with Gator.

      • Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        And I am honored to have you finishing second.


      • 1historian - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        good point and may I suggest an adjective to describe them that I reserve for occasions like this – assholian

    • jwbiii - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      If by “people,” you mean “cowards who won’t express their opinions,” then yes, it seems there are.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Coward is a good word. Assclownery is another good one, but the truth is probably more like lonely, spiteful, immature, socially awkward petulant human excrement.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      You get used to it around here. Even the most innocent and benign comments receive a flood of thumbs down. Maybe it’s a robot created by Craig that misinterpreted it’s design rules and has gone on a vengeance mission against all commentators on the site.

      • Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        Seems to me the natural enough result of Craig’s insistence on including something as juvenile in its essence and prone to abuse as the thumbs because, to paraphrase Kirk Douglas in The List of Adrian Messenger, assholes do exist. Assholes is. It’s Deviant Four of Fudd’s Law (“If you push something hard enough, it will fall over”) – ie, give an asshole an opportunity to behave like an asshole, and he will behave like an asshole. That’s the Occamian solution to why these idiots infest the site. No point in looking for complicated explanations.

  7. cur68 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Well there you go. I’m glad Harper’s an NL player. I can go about liking him in peace.

    /Hat Tip

    • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Until the All Star Game, of course.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Here, I got ya something:

        If you’re going to protest at a sporting event, this is one way the rest of the world does it!

      • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        I am not even going to click on that. I just ate.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Sigh, fiiiiiiinnnnneee!

      • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        You must be feeling better. Reminds me — I should check how the Phillies phared.

        /punches arm

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Back to work on Monday, and back logged from missing a week.

        I should resurface by Thursday.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM


      • Old Gator - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Great story. But if, say, a player came out with a machete and beheaded Angel Hernandez, chances are Joe Torre would still only suspend him for eight games.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        I’m not sure it would even stop Hernandez.

    • indaburg - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      First time I’m reading this. What a great thing to do. Bryce Harper just rocketed up in rankings among my favorite major leaguers. Class act all the way.

  8. steelerfanforlife - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Cool story bro!! Pirates fan living in DC area. The Nats have quickly become my second favorite team!!

  9. ningenito78 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Great story. Nice to see a young athlete that gets what he actually is and what he actually stands for. Hey that the great thing about just using the iPhone app. You don’t have to deal with the thumbs down small penis crowd.

  10. deaninajijic - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The headline says it all. And for those of you who can’t appreciate it and are giving a thumbs down, I hope there is someone nice to be kind to you if something horrible happens in your life. Also see the Weaver-Adenhart story for another good guy!

  11. lasvegassuicidekings - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    I’m in a 40 man keeper league , drafter Harper when he was 16 on the cover of SI , and refused trading him for the likes of Matt Moore , Miggy Cabrera and Car-go ….. Glad I did … Love this kid….. On another note …good job to everyone saying the kid won’t make it …. Lets hope his dad doesn’t read this kinda stuff to take his mind off his sons fight …. Think people

    • clemente2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Umm, Miggy? You have misinterpreted the point of fantasy baseball.

      • thebadguyswon - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        I wish the guy that offered Miggy for Harper was in my league.

  12. apmn - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    FFS…where are all of these thumbs down coming from? Is this like a Westboro Baptist Church protest thingy?

    • indaburg - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      Ignore it. It’s likely a troll, but I take it as a commentary as to how meaningless the feature is.

    • trollingforjustice - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      they are just “clown thumbs”man……

  13. Stiller43 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:10 PM


    That story (and video) are bruuuuttttalll!!!

    Thx for sharing though! Crazy!

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      Stiller, no prob. It goes along my personal line of ” do you really think we have it bad in this country in any kind of way ” sobering narrative.

      The world outside is a scary place, I mean, Brazil isn’t even a totally distabilized place, and this is the kind of stuff that gets reported. Imagine what doesn’t.

      • jwbiii - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        And they’ll be hosting the 2016 Olympics!

        Not much news out the favelhas, but really good movies. Here’s one.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        Sounds about right, I’ll have to try and find this to stream.

        I have seen some Brazilian prison documentaries, makes Shawshank look like a Club Med.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

        Along that line, City of God was amazing (if hard to take).

      • jwbiii - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        Yes, Ma’am. I said movies plural. If I had not seen Pixote, I would have recommended City of God. Both are really good; I prefer Pixote. YMMV, and that’s ok. City of God is certainly a more professionall made movie, but I think Pixote, with most of its characters being played by illiterate teenaged street kids, cut closer to the bone, and was more indicative of life in the favelhas of Brazil.

  14. Kevin Gillman - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Bryce Harper is more mature than any assclown who does a thumbs down for any posts in this story. Bryce is quickly becoming one of my favorite players, and I am not a Nats fan. Gavin Rupp is truly an inspiration.

    • blacksables - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Players shouldn’t be made to be heroes for doing this kind of thing. They should be vilified when they don’t. This should be standard procedure for all of them.

      Of course, what I find really special is the ability to do this without self-promotion. It’s always nice of the players to tell us when they are fantastic people, because their words always speak louder than the actions.

      Altruism for the sake of good publicity isn’t really altruism.

      • apmn - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Placing a motivation to someone else’s actions says more about your own motivations for that action than it does about that other person.

      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        You know, Bryce didn’t have to spend an hour talking with this kid, but he did. He also did not do it for the good publicity, he did it because he wanted to talk to the kid. Nothing more, nothing less. That is what was so special about it.

      • blacksables - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Then why did he feel the need to Tweet about it. It was a nice thing he did, I don’t disagree with that. More ball players should do this.

        What I have an issue with is the self-promotion for doing it.

        Why couldn’t he do it and not tell the world what a hero is?

        As I said, altruism for the sake of self-promotion is not altruism.

      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        He posted it on Twitter to show the world about Gavin and the struggle he is living with, truly putting HIM over as a hero, not Bryce. I see nothing wrong with that.

  15. braddavery - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Please “thumbs down” this comment. Thank you.

  16. jssgriffi - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    He’s a good dude.

  17. tigersfandan - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Get ride of the thumbs, please.

  18. redwing26 - Jul 6, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Great story! Thank you Bryce for doing the right thing. To many athletes today to big to do it.

  19. aceshigh11 - Jul 6, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Has someone hijacked the “thumbs down” function again?

    There are some really sick, miserable bastards online…it almost makes me want to deactivate all of my commenting accounts sometimes.

    At any rate, it was really sweet of Harper to do that for this poor kid. He’s a good person and is going to have a great career.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      You have to leave good comments or else it will only be the twits who do.

  20. idespisejuanuribe - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Really cool that Bryce did that. Hope everything works out for the kid.

  21. 1historian - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    This is a nice story and I bet Harper’s parents are proud of their son, and nothing else matters.

  22. someguyinva - Jul 30, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    The kid lost his battle earlier tonight –

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